Leaders and cadres of two major student unions on Sunday visited the bordering Chhapkaiya area of Birgunj for an onsite inspection of the land that has fallen into Indian territory following a recent position marking by Nepal-India joint survey team for new subsidiary boundary pillars.
Chairperson of CPN-UML aligned All Nepal National Free Student Union (ANNFSU) Nabina Lama and Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) aligned All Nepal National Independent Student Union (ANNISU)–Revolutionary Ranjit Tamang, among other office bearers, reached Birgunj Metropolitan City-1 under the banner of Border Protection and Awareness Campaign. The team interacted with locals and inspected the encroached land.
The team of student unions found out that around three km Nepali territory has fallen into Indian side between main border posts 391, 392 and 393. Based on the experts’ opinions and land ownership certificates of local, the team has urged the Survey Department to verify the Strip Map and stop erecting new border pillars at the moment.
The Strip Map was prepared following Sugauli Treaty with East India Company in 1816, according to Nepal-India joint survey team. The chairman of both the student unions have sought an immediate review of the Strip Map, which they claim was prepared under unequal treaty and pressure from India by forgoing historical basis and customary use of land.
The student unions have demanded the Land Survey Department authenticate the validity of the Strip Map.
Survey Department Director Anil Marasini said that the problem has surfaced as the Strip Map was prepared based on 1816 treaty, while the landowners were given ownership certificate in 1965. The preparation of Strip Map and distribution of landownership certificates were conducted based on the river position of those times, he said, adding the problem occurred because the river has changed its course.
“The elderly says that the river used to flow 100 metres south from current position,” said ANNISU-Revolutionary Chair Tamang, “The Strip Map looks full of error. It seems that the Strip Map was prepared with premeditated strategy to encroach the Nepali land. Our authorities acted helpless. It is necessary to review the map by high level teams of both the countries.”
ANNFSU Chairman Nabina Lama said that an Eminent Persons Group of Nepal and India are looking into the old and unequal treaties. “We do not claim others land, but we can’t give away our lands. Mapping should not be done based on false documents,” she said.
Locals complain that pillars are immediately installed when Indian lands expand to Nepali territory but it does not happen when Nepali land expands to Indian side.
“Looking at the land ownership certificates distributed by the Nepal Government, it is evident that nearly 50 Bighas of Nepali land has been clearly encroached,” said a joint statement issued by both the student unions after border inspection.
The team asserted that the Strip Map prepared after Sugauli Treaty based on river banks was wrong and betrayal to Nepali territory. The team demanded the government and concerned authority to seek a permanent solution to border issues through diplomatic channel
Source: The Kathmandu Post.